American television audiences have long been accustomed to the celebration of rawkus police action via the Fox Network's signature exploitation, COPS. And while, for many, the show is a tell-tale sign of our militarized world, for others, it represents something far more sinister and far-reaching. Namely, the broad inculcation and deep internalization of the notion that society cannot exist without the men and women in blue who patrol the perimeter of our increasingly gated communities. By carefully omitting coverage of police brutality and corruption, COPS has succesfully sanitized the image of our urban police forces in ways that few propagandists could have ever imagined possible.
And so, in the spirit of striking back by reversing the power structure, GNN presents CopWatch, a journey into the dangerous world of community police oversight as epitomized by pioneer activists Andrea Pritchett and Jacob Crawford. Founded in 1990, the Berkeley chapter of CopWatch sought to revitalize the Sixties-era initiative originally conceived by the Black Panthers. Over the past twelve years, CopWatch chapters have begun to spring up across the United States. With the recent high-profile cases of police brutality and fears of a looming police state, they might be just in time.